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Backyard Poultry


Publishing bi-monthly by Countryside Publications, Ltd. 145 Industrial Drive
Medford WI  54451; 715-785-7979;

By Linda K. Foster

Who would raise poultry in his/her backyard? Although many would dispute the idea, I consider myself to be a fairly normal human being. However, when I was young, I raised backyard chickens. The two chickens in my care were hatched in my 4th grade class and needed a home at the end of the study period. Being the loving (or, perhaps, easily duped) people that they were, my parents agreed to let me adopt the two chicks. My father built a chicken coop behind our garage and it became my responsibility to feed and water my new “children”, to clean the coop and to provide whatever other care was necessary.  In exchange for my care-giving, the chicks grew and rewarded me with daily eggs and, as odd as it may seem, years of companionship. For me, raising poultry in the backyard began as a school project and progressed into a “homeschooling” experience for a public schooler.

There are other reasons for raising backyard poultry, including the convenience of having fresh eggs or poultry meat at home with reduced costs of production. Chickens, turkeys and other varieties of poultry can be, as in my case, an enjoyable hobby or they can be a learning experience for 4-H or FFA projects. Many varieties of poultry are also useful for insect and weed control, eliminating the need for toxic pesticides. In short, a great deal of pleasure can be experienced by simply observing the different shapes and colors in a home poultry flock and most breeds require only a modest outlay of time, space and food.

For anyone currently raising a backyard flock or intending to do so in the future, one of the most encompassing sources of reference is Backyard Poultry. Published bi-monthly by Countrywide Publications, Ltd., Backyard Poultry offers valuable information on every aspect of small-scale poultry-keeping, including information on chickens, waterfowl, turkeys, guineas, and more. Each issue is full of articles on breed selection, housing, management, health and nutrition. In the current issue, an article entitled “Portable Poultry Runs: Light Weight and Inexpensive Fence Panels” offers a reader’s experience building poultry runs and includes diagrams, measurements and instructions for other readers with a similar need. The current issue also includes articles on “Turkeys: History and Variety” and “A Winter Menu: Changing Poultry Feed by the Season”.  Previous issues have included the articles “4-H Teaches Youth Life and Skills” and “Traditional Breeding Programs for the Home Flock”. One of the most interesting and, perhaps, most valuable offerings in Backyard Poultry is “The Answer Man” column written by Ron Kean, Extension Poultry Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison. In each column, Mr. Kean provides answers to reader questions involving such things as how to candle eggs, treatments for feather pecking, feather loss, and leg mites.  

Some of the articles in Backyard Poultry are reader written and others are staff written but all are well written and include essential information for anyone involved in raising backyard poultry.

Raising backyard poultry is an easy and fairly painless way to enjoy fresh eggs and other benefits. For anyone with a reasonable amount of yard room and a cooperative city government, this activity can become a window into a more sustainable lifestyle and Backyard Poultry is a convenient and comprehensive resource for beginning and maintaining a backyard flock.

For additional information or to subscribe to Backyard Poultry please visit their website at www.backyardpoultrymag.comL.K. F.